This ground-breaking treatment could improve the quality of life for patients living with heart failure and decrease hospital admission rates.
Andrew spends his days saving lives. Now he needs your help to save him.
As a firefighter, I often face emergency scenes with car accidents, injuries, and even heart attacks. Part of my job is often doing heart compressions to keep people alive on an accident scene.
I discovered I had atrial fibrillation when I was about 40 years old. I loved bike riding but I was getting very out of breath and experiencing tightening in the chest. I just couldn’t get enough air in and I was extremely fatigued, which wasn't normal for me.
My mum was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and died at the age of 72, about a year after my daughter Ella was born.
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"I just couldn’t get enough air in and I was extremely fatigued, which wasn’t normal for me."
Risk factors for heart failure include:
- high blood pressure
- coronary heart disease
- heart attack
- type 2 diabetes
- atrial fibrillation.
A single risk factor may be enough to cause heart failure, but a combination of factors also increases your risk.
Treatment gaps in heart failure
Many individuals are not diagnosed with heart failure in a timely manner, and once a diagnosis is made, treatment is frequently sub-optimal and costing the healthcare system unnecessarily.
Heart failure costs Australia greatly in terms of lives lost – accounting for more than 4000 deaths per year.
Heart failure costs Australia greatly in terms of financial burden – the estimated cost is over $1 billion per year, with hospital care being the greatest expenditure. A significant portion of this cost is associated with preventable heart failure readmissions.
Despite advances in heart failure care, readmission rates after heart failure have increased.
While the causes of readmission are mixed, many of the causes are preventable.
As outlined in the recent Change of Heart report, improving our healthcare system to better manage heart failure requires: developing a national strategy to reduce hospital readmissions; establishing uniform criteria for disease management programs; and access to new drugs for treatment.
Snake venom to save a failing heart
What first began as a life-threatening snake bite is now close to becoming a life-saving treatment for those living with or at risk of heart failure.
While out trekking in the Australian bush, a colleague of the Baker Institute’s Professor Geoff Head, suffered a frightening attack and was bitten on the leg by a venomous snake.
‘While under intense screening in hospital, it was noticed that his blood pressure dropped dramatically,’ Geoff said.
With a natural interest in hypertension, this revelation left Geoff and his colleague in a perplexing situation. So much so that years later they found themselves creating snake venom that has shown to treat and prevent the damage of a failing heart.
‘Following this incident, we recreated the venom of the Inland Taipan, which revealed a specific peptitde that could in fact be re-produced in the form of an oral drug,’ Geoff said.
‘Results have proven so promising that the drug could be used in hospitals to both stabilise heart failure patients in the short-term, and also improve the long-term treatment of heart failure.’
This ground-breaking treatment could improve the quality of life for patients living with hypertension or heart failure and decrease hospital admission rates, ensuring people like Andrew can live longer, happier and healthier lives with their loved ones.
Please consider making a donation today.
How your generous gift will help
Your financial support could help take this study to a large scale clinical trial, and bring us closer to achieving a new and effective treatment for heart failure that will benefit thousands of people.